When my daughter Christina told me that Donna was going to be her wedding planner, I was thrilled. I knew she would make it an event fit for a princess, and that I could trust that all the millions of details that make up a wedding were going to fall into place beautifully. And they did!
There are times when I feel so overwhelmed that I want to just crawl under the bed and hide! The first time I remember feeling this really strongly was right after my second child was born. Mike had gone to work, and I was home with Christina, the newborn, and Michael, the one and a half year old, and they both woke up early and started crying at the same time. I had no idea how to deal with two little tiny kids, so I pulled the covers over my head for a couple of minutes, hoping that if I closed my eyes real tightly, somehow the crying would stop, and I would magically figure out how to do this.
Needless to say, that didn't work. They kept on crying, and I had to hoist my exhausted and extremely sore body out of bed and figure it out, one step at a time.
Unfortunately, it's easy to let clutter build up and then start letting the cleaning slide. Don't let that happen to you! If that's where you are, let's help get you out. Last week we talked about making a plan to declutter your house. If you haven't done that yet, jump on that, too, while you're getting in the groove of scrubbing things down.
There is an order to cleaning rooms, and the key to successfully keeping things clean is a schedule. There are many way to do the schedule, so you have to find the one that works for you. Here are some ideas:
We have truly lived our vows: for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, til death do we part. Love is not just a warm fuzzy feeling, and it's far more than just putting up with each other. It's rooted in trust, loyalty, fidelity, being a cheerleader for each other, and just having each other's backs no matter what. Love is a verb, and it's expressed in our actions every day.
One of the things I'm most heartened by is that my eleven kids are not just siblings; they are a squad. While they each, of course, have their own friends outside of the family, they are truly best friends with each other, and they hang around together by choice quite a lot of the time. My daughter Christina recently got engaged, and the first thing she did was ask all five of her sisters to be her maids of honor.
Christmas is our favorite holiday! Between the Christmas decorations, cutting down a tree, putting up lights, making Christmas cookies, and wrapping a multitude of presents, it's always a whirlwind of excitement.
Christmas in a large family has brought us its own set of unique challenges over the years. For instance, when our kids were little, we had to use picture frame wire to tie the Christmas tree to the wall, as inevitably one of the little ones would try to climb the tree and knock the whole thing over! And then there was the time when we found three year old Lisa drinking the Christmas tree water. Four year old Katherine decided to eat a glass ornament, and we waited, terrified, for it to pass through her digestive system, hoping it wouldn't cut up her insides! I wasn't able to actually put any presents under the tree until Christmas Eve up until just a few years ago because there was always a young child or two who couldn't stop themselves from unwrapping the presents long...
What would the holidays be without the smells of cinnamon, apples, and a turkey or ham cooking? Through 30 years of marriage and 11 kids, I have developed a holiday menu that I make for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter (with slight variations in each) that has become a tradition for our family. One year I wasn't going to make the poppy seed cake to go with the bacon and eggs for breakfast, and I thought I was going to have a riot on my hands, so I quickly went back to the plan, made the poppy seed cake, and all was well in Cimorelli-Land again. I have found that following these traditions also helped ease our transition whenever we moved; they bring familiarity and makes anywhere suddenly feel like home. I like to cook everything from scratch, and I have gotten numerous requests for the recipes, so here goes!
Here is the menu for the big day:
Breakfast is bacon, eggs, fruit salad, and the poppy seed cake made the night before.
Hey - you're an adult now! Congratulations! You moved out on your own, out from under mom and dad's tyrannical rule, and now you can stay up all night, sleep all day, eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, leave the dishes in the sink, and throw your clothes all over the place without reprisal. Woohoo!! Party on!
After about a month of that, about the same time the ants and cockroaches start crawling all over your counters, your feet are sticking to the floor, and you have no clean clothes to wear, you may start to wonder if this Adulting thing is all it's cracked up to be. Maybe Mom and Dad aren't quite as dumb as they look for forcing you to do all those lousy chores all the time... hmmm...
I recently interviewed some of my adult children who have moved out about their adventures in Adulting. I asked them each four questions:
1. Is being an adult harder or easier than you thought it would be?
Thanksgiving comes once a year, and it's a wonderful time to reflect on our blessings and give thanks. But should we only give thanks once a year? Being tuned into the blessings that come your way every day is the foundation for building an extraordinary life. Even in the hardest of times, there are still things to be grateful for. You attract what you focus on, so focus on the positive! Here are some things that you can be grateful for, not just today, but every day:
Mike and I have a large family full of wonderful and fascinating personalities, and there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thanking God for every single one of them! We've had so many wonderful experiences, but we've also had some really rough times in the past 30 years, including times where we lost almost everything. In those times especially, you realize just how important and special family is. It is our rock, and we always know that we have each other, no matter how bad everything else might be goin...
Multi-tasking is the lifeblood of a mom, especially in a large family. While there is evidence to support the idea that multi-tasking is not the best approach in a business environment (you actually get more done if you focus on one task at a time), in Mom World, that's just laughable. Like I'm going to put in a load of laundry and wait until it's done before I run the dishwasher so that I'm only doing one task at a time? No, I don't think so. The key to efficiency in Mom World is to multi-task at a very high level. Here's the breakdown:
1. Get your machines working for you
With eleven kids, there are always mountains of laundry and dishes, so first thing in the morning, I get my appliances going. I get a load of laundry going, and I unload and reload my dishwasher and get it going as soon as it's full (which is usually right after breakfast). I only have my youngest six living with me currently, but when I had all eleven , we had two sets of washers and dryers (which was a godsend!) and...